Category Archives: Excerpt

Blog Tour: Excerpt & Giveaway – Falling for Prince Charles by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

FFPC

Welcome to the I Heart Fictional People’s A Sudden Crush blog tour stop! This tour is hosted by Tasty Book Tours!

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Title: Falling for Prince Charles

Author: Lauren Baratz-Logsted

Published: February 9th, 2016 by Diversion Books

Length: 303 pages (eBook)

Genre: Chick Lit

Source: Publisher via Tasty Book Tours (for honest review)

 

book blurb

(from Goodreads)

Lauren Baratz-Logsted has mastered the real life fairy tale in her explosive and hilarious Falling for Prince Charles. It’s all here, lovelorn Daisy Silverman flush with cash and high hopes, Prince Charles who can’t resist her, and London in all its splendor. Curl up and get ready to laugh long into the foggy night.” Adriana Trigiani, New York Times bestselling author of THE SHOEMAKER’S WIFE

Daisy Silverman has always been obsessed with His Royal Highness, Prince Charles. When the underachieving 30-something cleaning lady wins a million dollars, she follows her lifelong dream to go to London. Once there, she meets Prince Charles the real Prince Charles. Through a series of misunderstandings, the Royal Family doesn’t realize that Daisy’s Jewish or that she’s spent her life up to the elbows in the wrong kind of toilet water. By the time they do, Daisy is in love with Charles, Charles is in love with Daisy, and the Queen’s white gloves are off. FALLING FOR PRINCE CHARLES is an offbeat alternate-universe romantic comedy showing the heir to the British throne in a light quite unlike any he’s been seen in before.

“Daisy’s madcap adventure is more comedy than romance, and her most unusual and unlikely relationship with Prince Charles will appeal to reads looking for lots of giggles.” -“Publishers Weekly”

excerpt

As Daisy Silverman squatted in front of the toilet bowl, first depressing the flush lever and then watching as the milky outgoing spiral removed the mildew and replaced it with fresh water, the thought occurred to her for at least the thousandth time that if the fickle hand of fate hadn’t cast her as a cleaning lady, working in wealthy households and offices in Westport, Connecticut, she would most certainly have made a perfectly lovely Princess of Wales.

This was a fantasy that Daisy had entertained off and on since 1981, the same year that the late Princess Diana had first become Princess Diana. And to this day, eighteen years later, whenever she thought about it, Daisy still thought that she could have done the job better.

Oh, sure, Daisy had loved the late Princess, would have said that she loved her more than anybody. Well, actually even Daisy was aware enough not to say that; she did know that Diana’s family and friends had surely loved her more. But Daisy could legitimately claim to love her easily as much as anybody who had never met her, and that was plenty. So, if Daisy felt a little competitive with a dead Princess that she had loved beyond reason, what matter that? After all, there were some compelling reasons for making a comparison between the two women.

Just like the woman who had possessed the most photographed profile in the world, Daisy had a genius for making the kind of seemingly interested, throwaway comment that left others feeling a little cheerier about their own lot in life. Although even Daisy had felt that the Princess had been pushing things a bit, several years back, when she had blithely informed a widow on the dole with a flat full of small children: “Oh, yes, I just love those microwave pizzas too. Whenever the Heir and the Spare start to look a little peaked, I just nuke a couple of them in the Palace micro, and we’re all set to go skiing in Klosters or windsurfing on Necker.” Or, if those hadn’t been her exact words, it had been something equally inappropriate…


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about the author

Lauren Baratz Logsted

Lauren Baratz-Logsted is the author of over 25 books for adults, teens (including The Twin’s Daughter and Little Women and Me), and children (The Sisters 8, a nine-book series she created with her husband and daughter). Before becoming an author, Lauren was an independent bookseller, freelance editor, Publishers Weekly reviewer, sort-of librarian and window washer. She lives with her family in Danbury, CT. Visit her at www.laurenbaratzlogsted.com or follow her @LaurenBaratzL on Twitter.

author links

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Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads


giveaway

Tour-Wide Giveaway: FIVE (5) Print Copies of FALLING FOR PRINCE CHARLES

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Blog Tour: Excerpt & Giveaway – Loving Lucas by Violetta Rand

loving-lucas-virtual-tour

Welcome to the I Heart Fictional People’s tour stop for the Loving Lucas blog tour, hosted by Tasty Book Tours. I am here to present an excerpt from this book. Enjoy 🙂

23602247Title: Loving Lucas (Lies & Leather #1)

Author: Violetta Rand

Will Be Published by: Loveswept on October 20th, 2015

Length: 201 pages (eBook)

Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult

Source: Publisher via NetGalley and Tasty Book Tours

 

book blurb

Perfect for fans of Abbi Glines and Monica Murphy, Violetta Rand’s explosive new Lies & Leather series kicks off with a red-hot motorcycle racer who rides hard and plays for keeps.

Twenty-one-year-old Karlie Augustine is a survivor. She’s smart and tough, but she’s in too deep with a bad boyfriend who isn’t above breaking her spirit—or her body. Luckily, help arrives in the form of a leather-clad, motorcycle-riding hunk on the right side of the law. Lucas Lafontaine is pure muscle, a Corpus Christi cop who ignites something primal deep within Karlie. And when he offers her room and board in exchange for housekeeping, she finally starts to feel safe again.

As their arrangement turns deliciously decadent, Lucas gets hooked on Karlie’s killer body and fighting spirit. He wants to heal the pain he sees behind her eyes, but to protect her he needs to keep her close, especially now that her psycho ex won’t take a hint. Even as Lucas fights his own battle for custody of his young son, he knows that what he’s found with Karlie is real—and that he’d do anything to protect the woman he wants to take to the finish line.

excerpt

I’m a prisoner. My cage is a luxurious thirty-two-foot Thor motor coach and Connor is stretched out on the leather couch by the only exit. If I try to sneak out, he’ll wake up. And I don’t want to suffer the humiliation of another one of his explosive tantrums. I’m standing between the bedroom door and living area, arms crossed over my chest, music and laughter filtering through the open windows. It’s ten o’clock; the races are officially over, but the partying just started.

I peek out the closest window, catching sight of the bonfire. It lights up the nighttime sky like fireworks. My friends are drinking and having fun, and I’m stuck inside with my homicidal boyfriend who loses it when I smile at another guy. I carefully weigh my options, considering the consequences. With Connor, everything comes with a price.

I sniff the air, smelling cigar smoke and barbeque. A tradition I hate missing. Michael Samos travels to Cuba every year and smuggles the finest cigars back, saving a box for the last weekend of the races. I can taste the citrusy twang already. However, what I crave most is the camaraderie, the feeling like I belong somewhere. Sitting in utter silence while Connor sleeps off his postrace buzz sucks. And I’ve already exhausted the DVD collection in the bedroom. If I watch Fast & Furious one more time I’ll puke.

I edge closer to the door. Connor flips onto his right side. There’s a night-light on in the kitchen. I gaze at his angelic face. That’s what initially attracted me, along with his sense of humor, of which I don’t see that much anymore. But after sixteen months, I know what lurks beneath his tranquil features.

And that’s why I don’t like him anymore.

I take another silent step and then stop. So far, so good. Another few steps and I’m at the door . . . I touch the latch, turn it, and the lock pops.

“Karlie?”

I cringe, not facing him. “Yes?” My voice wavers.

“Where the fuck are you going?”

I hear him sit up. “Outside.”

“Get over here.”

The fine hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. And my fight-or-flight instincts insist I obey. But I don’t want to. Instead, I push the door open.

Everything happens so fast. He clamps onto my hips, snapping me backward. I let out a little cry as he lifts me off my feet, slamming me onto the couch. My back hits the padding so hard it knocks the breath out of me. But I still try to roll onto the floor—maybe I can crawl between his legs, making it outside.

“Settle down,” he hisses, gripping my right ankle. “Now.” His nails dig into my flesh.

Tears sting my eyes, more out of fear than pain. “Please,” I beg. “Let me go.”

He laughs, wrapping his fingers around my throat. He applies just enough pressure to let me know he’s in control. “Where, Karlie?”

I raise my chin, my last attempt at defiance. “Wherever I want.”

He squeezes harder, depriving me of enough oxygen to make me feel dizzy. I kick my feet so hard my sandals fly off. I dig my fingernails into the sides of his face.

“Bitch . . .” He lets go accidentally and I take full advantage, launching off the couch.

I land on my knees near the steps and fall forward, hanging on to the edge of the first one, ready to scramble out the half-open door. He grips both of my ankles and flips me over, and the back of my head smacks the tiled floor with a sickening thud. It hurts more than brain freeze. I grit my teeth, praying the pain away, only to have it replaced by something far worse. He bends my big toe forward, and fire shoots up my foot. Oh. My. God. I bite my bottom lip so hard I taste blood.

I kick frantically as he twists my toe again. “Stop or I’ll break it.”

He means it; I’ve been to the hospital twice in the last year with a broken wrist and a concussion. When the doctors asked what happened, Connor turned on the local-boy charm and told them I crashed at practice. He’s a local celebrity, so no one challenges him; no one suspects him of abuse. Except my friend Marie, but she’s outside with her boyfriend.

“Wh-what do you want?” I ask.

“Where’s the goddamn phone number that prick from Colorado gave you?”

“In-in the trash,” I stutter as fear takes over.

“Not in your pocket?”

I threw it away the minute we got back to the RV tonight. “No.”

“I don’t believe you.” He lets go of my foot, kneeling beside me.

His angry face gets closer and closer. Survival instinct takes over. I fist my hand and punch him in the nose with all the strength I have. He growls, falling back. Somehow I scramble to my feet and tumble down the steps, landing on the hard ground outside. Cool air fills my lungs and I shake my head. That pain at the base of my skull quickly reminds me where I am. I get up and run for the fire to join the others. Halfway there, I hear Connor’s heavy footsteps somewhere behind me. Oh God. This is it. I’m going to die tonight.

Breathless and exhausted, I fall to my knees hearing voices and see dozens of feet standing around me. The heat from the flames feels so good against my chilled skin. That’s the effect my boyfriend has on me; it’s 60 degrees outside and I’m as cold as a corpse.

“Karlie,” Connor calls, his boots coming into view in my periphery. “Don’t make this into something it doesn’t need to be. Get up—we’ll talk this out. In private.”

I don’t move. I can’t speak. I’m too busy worshipping the goddamned ground I’m kneeling on, thrilled to be free. Yet I fear that freedom will be short-lived. We’re a tight-knit group, but certain things are taboo in the racing community, interfering with relationship stuff being one of the biggest. And Connor Seville is a hero, a three-time American Motorcycle Association champion; the fact that he graces these unsanctioned races with his presence is reason enough for everyone to overlook his temper. He only participates for the extra money and to keep his local fans happy. His real passion is the national circuit, where television cameras and sports journalists chase him down for interviews.

He slides around me, resting his hand on my shoulder. I look up, meeting his blue gaze, the firelight making him look ominous. “No,” I say confidently. “We’ll never discuss anything again.”

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about the author

Violetta_Rand

An environmental scientist by day, Violetta Rand has been in love with writing since childhood. Struck with an entrepreneurial spirit at a young age, she wrote short stories illustrated by her best friend and sold them in her neighborhood. Rand enjoys outdoor activities, music, reading, and losing herself in the world she brings to life in the pages of her stories. The only thing she loves more than writing is her wonderful relationship with her husband.

 

author links

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Blog Tour: Excerpt & Giveaway – Bad Romance by Jen McLaughlin

bad-romance-mclaughlin-virtual-romance

Welcome to the I Heart Fictional People’s tour stop for the Bad Romance blog tour, hosted by Tasty Book Tours. I am here to present an excerpt from this book, written by New York Times bestselling author, Jen McLaughlin. Enjoy 🙂

BAD ROMANCETitle: Bad Romance: A Stepbrother Novel

Author: Jen McLaughlin

Published by: Loveswept on September 15th, 2015

Length: 202 pages (eBook)

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Source: Publisher via NetGalley and Tasty Book Tours

 

 

synopsis

In this explosive novel from bestselling author Jen McLaughlin, a good girl falls for the ultimate bad boy: her stepbrother. Perfect for fans of Sabrina Paige, Caitlin Daire, and Krista Lakes, Bad Romance proves that passion can be so wrong it’s right.

 Seven years in the army will change a guy. But after a shoulder wound ends his career as a sniper, Jackson Worthington finds himself back home, fighting a battle that’s all too familiar: keeping his hands off Lily Hastings. She’s still her rich daddy’s little angel, innocent, impossibly lovely, as squeaky-clean as Jackson is dirty. And she’s still his stepsister—forbidden but not forgotten, not after the soul-melting kiss that got him kicked out of the house at eighteen. He couldn’t resist her then. How the hell can he resist her now?

Lily is about to marry a man she doesn’t love, and commit to a high-stress job she hates, all to please the father who controls every waking moment of her life. On top of everything, her teenage crush is back, with a sleek, chiseled body and a trace of the rebellious boy whose lips sealed her fate. Jackson’s timing couldn’t be worse . . . or better. Because Lily’s all grown up, too. She’s aching for another taste. And for the first time, she’s ready to be a bad girl.

excerpt

“It feels nice,” I said, trying to smile. Her thin legs flexed as she moved her feet in the water, brushing her toes against mine. It wasn’t something we hadn’t done before. Soft touches like that. But tonight . . . it made me suck in a breath. I cleared my throat and tried to think of something, anything, to say. “I’m not even going to get to swim in it. Even if your dad refuses to admit it, I’m out of here for the army soon.”

“I know.” She sipped on her Coke, her gaze off in the distance. She looked . . . sad. Which inexplicably made me sad, like our emotions were tied together or some shit like that. Her small, delicate features looked flawless in the late-afternoon sun. For some reason, I couldn’t stop staring. I was going to miss her when I was gone, but that wouldn’t stop me from going. Nothing would. “I’m sorry he’s such a jerk to you. You deserve better.”

And that was why I liked Lilly; she was always on my side. She was the only one in this ridiculous family that cared about me. I lifted my own Coke and shrugged. “Whatever. I don’t care.”

“Yeah. You do.” She rested her hand on my thigh, and I tensed. I had board shorts on, so she didn’t touch skin, but still. It felt . . . intimate. And good. “I can see it in your eyes.”

No eighteen-year-old guy liked to hear his feelings showed in his eyes. So I scoffed. “Yeah, sure. Whatever.”

“It’s true,” she said a bit defensively.

No. It. Wasn’t.

I didn’t care about Walter, or his wife, or anyone but myself . . . and Lilly. She was the one exception. And I’d show her that, right here. Right now. Her hand was still on my thigh, so I covered it with mine. “The only person whose opinion matters to me in this house is sitting right next to me, and I mean it.”

She licked her lips and shifted closer. “I care about you very much, Jackson.”

“Yeah.” My heart sped up, and I smiled. “I know.”

A laugh escaped her, and she bumped me with her shoulder, her gaze focused on my lips. “Cocky much?”

“Yep.” The way she looked at me, as if she wanted nothing more than to see what it would feel like if I kissed her . . . well, there was only so much a guy like me could ignore. And I was leaving, and I wouldn’t see her again, and man, I wanted to find out what she tasted like so damn badly. Just one small, tiny, innocent kiss. That was all I wanted. No one would ever know. Not even Walt. “Know what I see in your eyes?”

She parted those soft pink lips and stared at me as if I was some sort of god or something. It made me feel a little bit ill, but also as though I could rule the world, if I had her by my side. “What?”

“You want me to kiss you,” I said, some unknown, greedy man taking over my actions. I trailed my hand up her bare arm, leaving goosebumps in my wake. “To be your first kiss. The one you remember for the rest of your life. To touch you.”

She trembled and licked her lips. “How did you . . . ?”

Curling my hand over her chin, I grinned. “Go ahead. If you’re brave enough to do it, to take what you want, kiss me. No one will ever know you kissed your stepbrother but us. It’ll be our little secret . . .”

I knew she wasn’t going to, no matter how much I might wish otherwise. It was why I left it up to her. I didn’t have qualms about it. Didn’t think it was wrong, or dirty, because she wasn’t my damn sister. But there was no way she had it in her to—

“You know what?” Crawling into my lap, facing me, straddling my thighs, she cupped my face and stared into my eyes. I got lost in hers, and some sinking suspicion told me that I was staring at the person I was meant to live the rest of my life with—which was crazy. “I know you think I’m too young, or too good, or too scared to do it . . . so I’ll prove you wrong. And guess what? You’re going to like it.”

And then she did it. She kissed me.

And she was right. I did like it.

Her soft, sweet lips closed over mine, and she tightened her grip on my cheeks. And, God help me, I finally found out what she tasted like. She smelled like vanilla, sunshine, and innocence, and she tasted like heaven. . . .

And bubblegum.

Moaning, I took over the kiss, pressing her perky, soft breasts against my chest and skimming my hands down her sides. When I gripped her ass and arched my erection up against her, she gasped, giving me access to her mouth. I took it. . . .

And then I took some more.

My tongue found hers, and she gripped my shoulders, digging her nails in as she pressed down against me, obviously wanting to feel my dick up against her core again.

And for the first time . . .

I thought I’d finally found a home.

Burying a hand in her hair, leaving the other on her sweet ass, I deepened the kiss, taking it to the next level. Warning bells went off in my head—this was getting too hot, too fast—but I ignored them, because she just felt way too fucking good. What had started off as a lighthearted flirtation backfired, because she was kissing me, and I didn’t want to stop. Having her in my arms made me feel as if I wasn’t alone.

As if we were meant to—

“Son of a bitch,” Walter growled from behind me.

I stiffened and broke off the kiss, my hand still on his daughter’s ass, and knew I’d fucked up. I’d forgotten to listen for anyone coming. “Shit.”

“Daddy, I—” Lilly started to say, scrambling to climb off me.

“Don’t talk to me. Go to your room immediately.”

Lilly gave me one long, panicked look, but did as told.

She always did.

“And you?” Walter grabbed me by the arms and yanked me to my feet. “How dare you defile my baby girl? Get out of this house, and don’t come back. You’re cut off. Not welcome here. Out of this family.”

I forced a careless grin, even though watching Lilly run from me was like watching my own heart leap out of my chest and sprint for the door. “It’s about damn time. I never wanted to be in it, anyway.”

Yanking free, I walked past the man I hated more than my own father. Walked right past my mother, and didn’t even look at Lilly, who stood paralyzed halfway up the stairs. If I looked at her, I’d waver. I’d want to stay, for her. And I couldn’t afford to do that. Not anymore. So I walked right out the door. . . .

And I didn’t look back.

Not even once.

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about the author

Jen_McLaughlin

Jen McLaughlin is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of sexy books with Penguin and Random House. Under her pen name Diane Alberts, she is also an USA Today bestselling author of Contemporary Romance with Entangled Publishing. Her first release as Jen McLaughlin, Out of Line, released September 6 2013, and hit the New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal lists. She was mentioned in Forbes alongside E. L. James as one of the breakout independent authors to dominate the bestselling lists. She is represented by Louise Fury at The Bent Agency.

Though she lives in the mountains, she really wishes she was surrounded by a hot, sunny beach with crystal-clear water. She lives in Northeast Pennsylvania with her four kids, a husband, a schnauzer mutt, and three cats. Her goal is to write so many well-crafted romance books that even a non-romance reader will know her name.

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Blog Tour: Excerpt & Giveaway – The Sisters Club by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

TSC BT Ban

Welcome to the I Heart Fictional People’s tour stop for The Sisters Club blog tour, hosted by InkSlinger PR. I am here to present an excerpt from this beautiful story, written by Lauren Baratz-Logsted. Enjoy 🙂

TheSistersClub_1400synopsis

Four women have little in common other than where they live and the joyous complications of having sisters. Cindy waits for her own life to begin as she sees her sister going in and out of hospitals. Lise has made the boldest move of her life, even as her sister spends every day putting herself at risk to improve the lives of others. Diana is an ocean apart from her sister, but worries that her marriage is the relationship separated by the most distance. Sylvia has lost her twin sister to breast cancer, a disease that runs in the family, and fears that she will die without having ever really lived.

 When Diana places an ad in the local newsletter, Cindy, Lise, and Sylvia show up thinking they are joining a book club, but what they discover is something far deeper and more profound than any of them ever imagined.

 With wit, charm, and pathos, this mesmerizing tale of sisters, both born and built, enthralls on every page.

excerpt

   Dan called on the mobile to say he wouldn’t be home in time for dinner, again, something about working late with a client. I might’ve been resentful if I didn’t recognize the truth in what he’d said earlier: one of us did need to work around here. Not wanting to eat alone, yet again, although I did need to eat, I decided to go to the bookstore. Maybe I’d have a sandwich or two in the café area while cracking the spine on a new thriller.

When I went to pay at the cash register, I saw they had out new copies of the store newsletter. I picked one up, perusing the contents while I ate my smoked turkey with roasted red peppers and fresh mozzarella on focaccia bread.

The newsletter listed notices of upcoming store events – story times in the children’s department, author appearances, that sort of thing. On the flip side, there were schedules for groups meeting in the bookstore: book-discussion groups, writers groups, even Scrabble groups. As I glanced around the crowded café, I realized that must be the Scrabble group meeting in the corner right over there. I recognized the colorful board and the wooden tiles, even though I’d never played the game myself. There were also two women who looked remarkably similar to one another, sitting at a corner table, laughing over their coffee and cake as though they truly enjoyed one another’s company; I envied them, sure they were sisters.

Then the thought occurred to me: If other people could place ads in the store newsletter for all these other clubs, why couldn’t someone place an ad for something different, for a sisters club? Certainly, there must be other women in the area who had a sister they were missing who, for one reason or another, was not physically on the scene. Sure, in the modern era, a sister need only be a phone call or mouse click away, but you can’t hug a telephone when you’re feeling lonely. You can’t hug a computer. And maybe, like me, there were others whose relationships with their sisters were not all books and TV would have you believe they are and yet they wanted that sister-like bond, dreamt of it.

Yes, I thought, a sisters club. Why had no one else ever thought of it? Of course I knew I couldn’t just blatantly call it that from the start – other women would think I was balmy! – but it’s what it would be nonetheless.

In my excitement, in my haste to find the store manager, I forgot all about my smoked turkey with roasted red peppers and fresh mozzarella on focaccia.

I had more important things to do.

I was going to find some sisters. Whether they knew it or not, it was what they were going to be.

buy links

Amazon

iTunes

Kobo

Barnes & Noble

Diversion Books

about the author

Author Photo

Lauren Baratz-Logsted is the author of over 25 books for adults, teens (including The Twin’s Daughter and Little Women and Me0, and children (The Sisters 8, a nine-book series she created with her husband and daughter). Before becoming an author, Lauren was an independent bookseller, freelance editor, Publishers Weekly reviewer, sort-of librarian and window washer. She lives with her family in Danbury, CT. Visit her at www.laurenbaratzlogsted.com or follow her @LaurenBaratzL on Twitter.

 

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Blog Tour: Excerpt & Giveaway – A Little Faith by Emma James

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Welcome to the I Heart Fictional People’s tour stop for the A Little Faith blog tour, hosted by InkSlinger PR. I’m so excited to present this awesome excerpt for this amazing book, which is the start of the awesome new Men of Ocean Beach series. And I got some teasers for you, and of course a giveaway! Enjoy!

22813902Synopsis:

“You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.”

~ Bob Marley

Faith was nearly fifteen when her life was torn apart, she sheltered herself from knowing anything about that fateful day.

Six years later she is older and stronger and has decided to confront this sexy brotherhood of hot men she ignored for her own survival.

Harley, Keanu, Text, Levi and Retro will reveal to Faith all is not what it seems and she will discover the level of strength these friends possess.

Text won’t talk. The burden of guilt he carries around is too heavy. Faith will uncover the secrets they have all been shielding from her in humorous and emotional ways.

Faith isn’t going back to Dallas in a hurry, not until she can help those that need her the most and Text will need her, it just might take a little longer for him to realize this.

This is a story of new beginnings, a strong brotherhood of sexy guys and a love that has been lost along the way. It is a story with twists and surprises that will tug at your heart as well as make you laugh.

Humor is a weapon that can only last so long until life peels the layers back and what is underneath and hurting shows through.

Faith wasn’t there for them when they needed her, but she damn well will make sure she is now.

Welcome to Ocean Beach.

Sometimes you just have to have A Little Faith.

A LITTLE FAITH RORY LEATHERMAN IMAGE - cropped

Excerpt

I’m swiveling back and forth, searching the crowd for Harley.

“Hey, short stuff.” A deep voice slices into my thoughts from over my right shoulder.

I slowly turn around, meeting Harley’s smiling face. I may have been short once, but now I am five-foot-eight, not exactly below-average height.

I take in Harley. He’s tall—six-four, at least—and gorgeous with light brown, short hair; tanned skin; and does he have some ink work on his arms? I’m normally very curious about tattoos, but now isn’t the time to look.

I know I’m looking him up and down, but it’s been so long, and he has changed. The softer boy features have been replaced by a big, muscular, chiseled man.

I swallow.

“Wow, is that really you, Harley Madden?” I’m drinking him in. I don’t remember Harley being so big and buff. His charcoal t-shirt molds tightly to his chest like a second skin. He wasn’t this muscular the last time I saw him. His belted, black jeans and boots complete his handsome look that has quite a few people in the crowd appraising him. He looks a little dangerous in his dark clothing. He would make Will purr like the cat who got the cream. I must admit, even I’m a little taken back.

He leans in and grabs me in a bear hug, lifting me off the ground, leaving me a little breathless. My face is nestled in his neck, catching his scent of cologne and soap.

Wow.

“Okay, big guy, you can stop squeezing the life out of me now,” I try to breathe out. He loosens his hold and slowly let’s go while I take a step back.

“You look amazing, Harley.” I find myself smiling. It feels good. I was worried about feeling awkward meeting Harley again after so long, but something just clicks. He was my brother’s best friend, and I’ve known him all my life. “It’s been a long time.”

“I could say the same about you. I might have to start calling you Faith.” He flashes me an amused grin, showing me perfect, white teeth and a dimple.

The baggage carousel starts up and everybody squeezes in tighter, trying to jockey for a position to get their luggage when it appears.

“Whoa!” I’m already beginning to feel less nervous having Harley here with me when I’m suddenly knocked off balance. Harley’s left arm snags me around the waist, bringing me up against his hard side. He shoots the person beside me a dirty look. Some people really do need to chill out when they travel.

I step away from him when I notice my case coming towards me.

Harley stops me with a gentle, firm hand on my arm. “I’ll get it for you, which one?”

With one, bright blue suitcase and camera bag in his hands, Harley walks me out the sliding doors of the airport and we cross to the parking garage.

The sun is shining, and my grey hoodie jacket is making me too hot. I unzip it, taking it off as I’m walking, revealing a tight white tank top. Much cooler.

Harley is staring at my chest and nearly trips over. I roll my eyes. You can never take the boy out of the man.

“Harley, are you finished staring?” I laugh a little at the look on his face. “So I grew up.”

“You certainly did,” he mutters and looks away. I could have sworn I heard him swear and mumble something about guard duty.

ALF PROMO 1

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MEN OF OCEAN BEACH COLLAGE 1

About the Author

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Emma James lives in Queensland, Australia with her supportive husband, three children and a big black Labrador. Life is busy and most entertaining in the James household.

Writing has been a part of her life for many years. Life was getting on and it was time to put her fears aside and do what she does best. It was time to show readers what she was made of, take that leap off the diving board and see where it takes her.

Emma is a creative person at heart. She loves to read as much as write, devouring books into the wee hours of the morning.

Who needs sleep, right?

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Cover Reveal, Excerpt, & Giveaway: The Affiliate by K.A. Linde

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I am so excited to release the cover of K.A. Linde’s The Affiliate! This YA fantasy looks awesome!! And after reading the excerpt, I pretty much NEED to read this book…like now. Enjoy! And enter the giveaway for your chance to win an eARC!

Title: The Affiliate (Ascension, 1)

Author: K.A. Linde

Release Day: September 15th

Genre: YA Fantasy

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About The Affiliate:

On the day of her Presenting, in front of the entire Byern Court, seventeen-year-old Cyrene Strohm’s lifelong plans come to fruition when she’s chosen as an Affiliate to the Queen.

Or so she thinks. When Cyrene receives a mysterious letter and an unreadable book, she finds nothing is as it seems. Thrust into a world of dangerous political intrigue and deadly magic, Cyrene’s position only grows more treacherous when she finds herself drawn to the one man she can never have…

King Edric himself.

Cyrene must decide if love is truly worth the price of freedom. Find out in this first book in USA Today bestselling author K.A. Linde’s new Ascension series.

Pre-Order Now: Amazon | iTunes
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Exclusive Excerpt:

“Do you enjoy the view?” King Edric asked.

“The rains have made the gardens bloom, and it warms my heart to see it so.”

“It is good to know that the gardener approves of the work.”

Cyrene laughed lightly. “I have not gardened in a month’s time. I fear I can no longer call myself a gardener.”

She remembered when she had told the king of her interest in gardening at the last feast day almost a week ago. After that dance, Queen Kaliana added a list of plants to her assignment, forcing her to reread every page she had already dredged through for information. It had wasted two entire days.

“Perhaps I could change that,” he offered.

He directed her down the staircase and into the courtyard below lit solely by the setting sun in the distance.

Her stomach churned at the thought of him offering assistance to any of her needs. It was like what she had read in her children’s books of the tales of Leifs, and how one request would be necessitated by a much larger sacrifice. Her biggest sacrifice at the present moment was time. She wanted nothing more than to finish her work on agriculture and prove that she could get moved somewhere that involved traveling…and adventure.

“On the contrary, My King, I am fully enthralled in my Affiliate duties, and believe that gardening would only distract me from my work.”

“You cannot spare one afternoon to spend in my gardens?” His blue-gray eyes searched her face. “If you have half the green thumb you suggest, then it would be delightful to have you on the grounds.”

She swallowed. “I really have much work to accomplish before we go on Processional.”

“I could speak to the Queen and request it be lessened,” he whispered into the evening air.

“No!” It was the first time he had ever admitted to discussing her with the Queen. Hearing him admit it aloud made her voice come out strangled.

Cyrene missed her footing on the pebble path and stumbled forward a pace. Edric steadied her. He turned his body to face her in the middle of the garden, and her breath caught at the sight of him in the setting sun.

“You do not wish me to speak to the Queen?”

“I spoke out of turn. Please forgive me.”

“I cannot forgive that which I do not understand. Did the Queen somehow offend you?”

Cyrene shook her head. “I fear that the Queen does not…like me.”

Edric laughed softly, taking one of her hands in his own. “Oh Cyrene, I believe that the Queen likes no one but herself.”

Cyrene found that she, too, could laugh at his comment.

“Now, tell me what the Queen has done to make you believe that she dislikes you.”

“It’s nothing, my King.” She turned her face away from his. She couldn’t possibly tell him the real reason.

“Enough to infuriate you, which is enough for me.”

When she looked back up into his blue-gray eyes she felt that same magnetic pull between them. Somehow she had not realized how close they were standing. His hand felt warm against her bare skin. His body only a few inches away from her. His breath hot on her face. Her heart contracted in her chest, and she forced herself to respond.

“She speaks of…of your interference, as if…as if you…”

Time stretched between them, and she thought for a split second he might move even closer to her. She was rooted in place, captivated by his gaze.

“Yes?” His other hand drifted to her waist, and she was suddenly on fire.

Their breath mingled together as she murmured, “As if you favor me.”

“And do you think that?”

“I…”

“Yes?” he asked, stepping closer.

“I think you have your queen,” she breathed.

 

About K.A. Linde:

kalinde copyUSA Today bestselling author K.A. Linde is the author of The Affiliate, the first book in the Ascension Series. As a military brat, she traveled the world with her family, imaginary friends, and ever-increasing supply of books. She has spent much of her life dreaming up new worlds and characters and forcing them into uncomfortable, usually life-threatening scenarios. After graduating from the University of Georgia with a masters degree in political science, she began spending every waking hour putting those characters onto paper.

When not writing, she spends her time dancing, collecting paperbacks in the hopes of filling a Beauty and the Beast style library one day, traveling to visit her friends who live all over the country, and still reading anything she can get her hands on. She currently resides in North Carolina with her husband and two puppies, Lucy and Riker, where she is hard at work on her next novel.

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